Ask Kosmo

February 3, 2010

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Note: these tidbits are simply worded in a question/answer format – they are not actually submitted to Kosmo as questions.

Q: Kosmo, I have some money invested and would like to know how soon it will double.  Is there an easy way to do calculate this?

A: Indeed there is.  It is called “The Rule of 72”.  Take 72 and divide it by your interest rate.  The result is the number of years it will take to double your money.  For example, if you are getting a 6% return, it will take 12 year to double your money.  You can also flip this question around and ask how high of a rate you must achieve to double your money in a specified period.  For example, if you want to double your money in 3 years, you would need a 24% APR (72/3 = 24).  Good luck with that.
Q: Kosmo, I’m all thumbs when it comes to tools.  I can never figure out which way to turn a tool to loosen something.  Is there some sort of general rule?

A:  Righty tight, lefty loosey.

Q: Kosmo, why did they call those old fashioned storage devices “floppy disks”?   They definitely weren’t floppy, and nw that I think about it, they weren’t disc-shaped, either!

A:  Au contraire!  Floppy disks were indeed floppy.  You are confusing the disk asssembly with the actual disk.  The assembly contains a hard plastic case and a metal shutter that the computer would push aside to read data from the actual disk.  If you want to see what the actual disk looks like, pry one (preferably one without data on it) open with a screwdriver.
Q:  Kosmo, I’m a big sports fan.  I wish there was a way for me to determine which team was the home team when the scores flash by.

A:  Actually, there is!  The visiting team is always on the top and the home team is always on the bottom.
Q: Kosmo, there’s a little pinhole near my computer’s DVD drive.  What’s up with that – does it need air to breathe or something?

A:  You have discovered the manual eject mechanism.  This has been around for as long as Kosmo can remember.  To trip the mechanism, simply take a bent ovally metal disc ejector – otherwise known as a common paper clip – and push it into the hole.  Whatever disc is in the drive should be ejected.  This works great for times when the operating system won’t recognize a disc and won’t allow you to eject it.
Q:  Kosmo, my friend tells me that I’m just as likely to get an Ace/Ace combo dealt to me as I am to get an Ace/King.  In essence, he’s telling me that all combinations are equally likely.  My experience seems to indicate that this is wrong.  Who is right?

A:  Congratulations – you are right.  This is a longer answer, so it will have to be the last question of the day.  Let’s take a look at the possible combinations for Ace/Ace:

  • Spade/Heart
  • Spade/Diamond
  • Spade/Club
  • Heart/Diamond
  • Heart/Club
  • Diamond/Club

All told, 6 combinations out of the  1326 possible combinations.

Let’s take a look at the possible combinations for Ace/King:

  • Ace Spades / King Spades
  • Ace Spades/  King Clubs
  • Ace Spades / King Hearts
  • Ace Spades / King Diamonds
  • Ace Clubs / King Spades
  • Ace Clubs/ King Clubs
  • Ace Clubs / King Hearts
  • Ace Clubs / King Diamonds
  • Ace Hearts / King Spades
  • Ace Hearts/ King Clubs
  • Ace Hearts / King Hearts
  • Ace Hearts / King Diamonds
  • Ace Diamonds / King Spades
  • Ace Diamonds/ King Clubs
  • Ace Diamonds / King Hearts
  • Ace Diamonds / King Diamonds

As you can see, there are 16 possible combinations.  Drawing a pair is always less likely than drawing two unmatched cards – the fact that you already have the ace in your hand means that there are  a maximum of 3 aces left in the deck – whereas there are a maximum of 4 of every other card.

Now, if your friend twists this a bit and says that you’re just as likely to draw Ace Spades / Ace Clubs as you are Ace Spades / King Clubs, he would be correct.

One Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Martin Kelly
    Feb 04, 2010 @ 09:23:50

    Cosmo, you are showing your youth. Before teh 3.25″ hard floppys that were created for the Mac and later adapted to PCs, there was a 5.25″ floppy that was truely floppy. The same disc material that is inside the smaller package was shrouded in a vinyl cover like an envelope with slots on the front and back. Before that, there was an 8″ version for the PET computers (4″ green on black screen with the disc slot beside the screen. You could erease your disc by removeing it with the dispay on from the magnetic fields). They were called floppys because they were thin and flexable. All other disc drives were made with a ceramic core, making them stiff and breakable. To show how old I am, before those discs, programs and data were stored on 1″ magenetic tapes, before that on 2″ paper tapes. You will have to go to a museum to see these delightful objects. Punch cards were also used. I think I still have some from college in my memories box 🙂


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